Sabine Coll Boghici, a 48-year-old Brazilian woman, was detained on suspicion of participating in a bizarre scheme to defraud her 82-year-old mother Genevieve Boghici the wife of the late art collector Jean Boghici of money, valuables, and jewellery totalling approximately 724 million reais ($142.42 million).
Her arrest has revealed a frightening web of deception that, according to the police, spanned years and employed purported psychics to steal works of art from some of Brazil’s most famous painters.
In addition to Diana Rosa Aparecida Stanesco Vuletic and Slavko Vuletic, four other people were also detained.
The scam began in 2020 when Sabine Coll Boghici mother, Genevieve Boghici was approached by a supposed psychic with prophecies of her daughter’s imminent death.
The victim was then taken to several more psychics, who police say used personal information provided by her daughter to scam her distraught mother into transferring money to pay for ‘spiritual treatment.’
In the months that followed, police allege the suspects physically threatened Genevieve and that she was kept at home for months by her daughter.
Sabine and an accomplice posing as a psychic ‘began to take the artwork from the (mother’s) house, claiming that the painting was cursed with something negative, with negative energy that needed to be prayed over,’ said Rio de Janeiro police officer Gilberto Ribeiro.
After almost a year of being mistreated by Sabine and her accomplices, the victim decided to go to the police.
Police say 16 paintings were stolen, including works by renowned Brazilian artists like Cicero Dias, Rubens Gerchman and Alberto Guignard.
Three pieces from iconic modernist painter Tarsila do Amaral – O Sono, Sol Poente and Pont Neuf – were also stolen, which together police appraised at a value of 700 million reais (£111.4million).